31 January 2013 - 6:27pm | posted by

Arab-American groups label Coca-Cola Super Bowl advert as racist

Arab-American groups have criticised Coca-Cola for is Super Bowl advert, which shows an Arab walking through the desert with a camel.

The man, dressed in traditional Arab dress, meets Las Vegas showgirls, cowboys and a group of bikers. The group all race to reach a giant bottle of Coke in the horizon, but the camel refuses to move, leaving the Arab man in last place.

The end of the advert sees viewers being asked to vote for who should win the race, however the character of the Arab is not an option.

President of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Warren David, was one of the first to hit out at the advert. He asked: "Why is it that Arabs are always shown as either oil-rich sheikhs, terrorists, or belly dancers?"

Imam Ali Siddiqui, president of the Muslim Institute for Interfaith Studies, said in an email that: "The Coke commercial for the Super Ball is racist, portraying Arabs as backward and foolish Camel Jockeys, and they have no chance to win in the world”

Meanwhile, Abed Ayoub, ADC's director of legal and policy affairs, said: "What message is Coke sending with this? By not including the Arab in the race, it is clear that the Arab is held to a different standard when compared to the other characters in the commercial."

Coca-Cola spokeswoman Lauren Thompson said that the company had taken a "cinematic" approach when making the advert, by using the characters as a nod to movies of the past.

This is the latest Super Bowl ad to come under fire for racist undertones. The "Get Happy" Super Bowl spot from Volkswagen shows a white man adopt a Jamaican accent due to the joy of owning a Volkswagen car. Christopher John Farley, a Jamaican-born Wall Street journalist, was one of many to criticise the ad, saying it was "off-putting to see the Island spirit used as a punchline."

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